Hotels Offered Funds to Advertise, Take Bookings Online

A nonprofit organization has offered $100,000 in aid to help hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap town get online and promote Cambodia to would-be tourists surfing the Web, if they agree to join an association sponsored by the organization.

The Mekong Project Develop­ment Facility is offering funds to start up e-commerce software programs that project officials say will help the hotel industry promote itself, project senior adviser Len Cordiner said Mon­day.

The Project Development Facil­ity met Monday with the Phnom Penh Hotel Association to discuss ways to take advantage of e-commerce, Cordiner said.

The money will be used to fund three Internet projects in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but will require hotels and hotel associations to pay for the service and maintain their own Web sites after the second year, Cordiner said.

The software is designed to help hotels and hotel associations create their own Web pages, al­low­ing travelers to make reservations and even payments over the Internet, Cordiner said.

The Phnom Penh Hotel Assoc­iation and its 21 members are weighing the proposal, association President Meas Chhay said.

“Not many customers see my private home page, so I’m hoping that, before the MPDF stops funding the association, our ho­tels better be really well known,” Meas Chhay said.

Some officials were thrilled with the offer.

“It is a technology that can give information to tourists the fast­est,” Phnom Penh’s Tourism De­part­ment Deputy Director Chen Saman said. “Before, they only thought of Cambodia as a dangerous place. But through Web sites, they’ll know Cambo­dia is a tourist destination.”


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